This past weekend I took the family to one of my favorite day hiking and family-friendly areas, Camp Sherman and the Metolius River. We arrived in Camp Sherman hungry so we conveniently stopped at the Camp Sherman store which is a slice of rustic americana heaven. (They have some of the best lunch sandwiches you can find anywhere, piled high with ingredients of your choice). The setting is beautifully sylvan with large cinnamon barked ponderosa trees everywhere and quaint rustic cabins along the shores of the famed Metolius River which is one of the most attractive Rivers anywhere. It’s crystal blue-tinted waters emerge abruptly out of the ground at the appropriately named “Head of the Metolius River.” I’ve seen hundred of photos from the head of the Metolius, most of which are bad because the contrast is difficult to control there. The combination of a heavily wooded scene and exposed skies tend to play hell with a landscape photo. I didn’t even attempt a visit to the head of the Metolius due to time constraints.
We did manage a hike along the banks of Lake Creek in the Metolius Preserve, which is well managed by the Deschutes Land Trust. For more info about the Metolius preserve, it’s hiking trails and accessibility, please visit the Deschutes Land Trust’s website. Photography was poor on this day as the light was very flat, there was no real color to be found, and not enough snow to be interesting. Despite all of this the Metolius River basin still casts a magical spell. The towering ponderosa , fir and larch trees along pristine waters of the Metolius and its tributaries give the area a special feel. One of my favorite times of year to visit the Metolius is in the fall when the larch trees and vine maples are putting on their annual color display. The following photo of the Metolius River was taken several years ago with my 4×5 camera. That seemed to be an especially vibrant year for fall color along the Metolius.
A fine art print of this image of the Metolius River can be seen at the Bend Brewing Company in downtown Bend, Oregon. If you are in the area, stop by the brewery, check out my photography, and have a beer. The head brewmaster there, Tonya Cornett is exceptionally talented. She currently has a seasonal black IPA on tap which is very good and if you are lucky they will also have Hophead, an imperial IPA which has won multiple awards at the Great American Brewing Festival and the World Beer Cup, where she was named small brew pub brewmaster of the year. Hophead is a hop lovers dream.
After Debbie, Emma and I finished our hike at the Metolius Preserve, we drove down river to the Wizard Falls fish hatchery, where we fed the huge trout in their holding pond. Just before arriving at the fish hatchery, the road crosses the Metolius and immediately to your left is the famous Wizard Falls which is more of an attractive water feature than an intimidating waterfall. It’s composition is quite lovely and is has lured photographers and flyfishing enthusiasts from around the world to its beautuful blue waters. There is also a non-technical trail that crosses the road near the fish hatchery which offers pleasant hikes , especially in autumn. Below is a photograph of Wizard Falls in autumn as seen from the bridge to the Wizard Falls fish hatchery.
The above Wizard Falls image was taken the same year as the previous Metolius River photograph. As I mentioned, the Falls themselves aren’t necessarily spectacular but they are artistic, especially on a colorful fall day when the reds of vine maples are counter balanced by the turquoise blue of the Metolius. Further down stream are some other very photogenic locations that are a little more seasonal and difficult to find. Campgrounds that mostly cater to fly fishermen are spread for several miles along the river in the area of Camp Sherman. The following photograph of the Metolius River was taken downstream of Wizard Falls in the evening with my large format 4×5 camera.
I enjoy the gentle “S” curve of the river, the late evening sun in the background and the red bark of the ponderosa trees on the left side of the river. As the Metolius basin is truly a beautiful area, I always feel like there are more good stock and fine art photographs to be taken there. Even if the light is disappointing like my last visit, there is always enough beauty to stimulate my wife daughter and I.
If you are interested in seeing more stock photos of the Metolius River, please visit our website at Pacific Crest Stock.
If you interested in my fine art prints of the Metolius River, please visit Mike Putnam Photography
Posted by Mike Putnam